Yes, Margaret Thatcher is dead. And so too, apparently, is empathy.

Is anyone else frightened by the reactions all over the world to Margaret
Thatcher’s  death? I mean, she was a horrible politician and possibly a
horrible human being.  But she was a human being. She had a life, and now
it’s ended.

It’s nice that a lot of people disagree with her politics, but cheering and
celebrating her death (even hopefully anticipating it before it happened) strikes
me as rather repulsive. Frankly, it’s the kind of thing that makes me fear for
humanity. Yes, I totally mean it. Where has the frigging empathy and respect
for human life gone?

Maybe these people throwing parties and making jokes aren’t actually, seriously
happy about the death of the individual that was Margaret Thatcher. Maybe
they don’t really mean it, like a lot of people say “I hate you” when they don’t
mean it.
But that gets me too. The casual attitude, the mean jokes. If you do
respect a person, and that person’s life, why joke about how glad you are it’s
now over? It’s a bit like rape jokes, actually. If you think rape is awful and
should be taken seriously – that the people exposed to it and their experience
should be treated respectfully – then why make jokes about it? Why do you
even find jokes about rape funny? Why do you think them up?

I don’t think disagreeing with Thatcher’s values and politics, and even
occasionally despising her (even if I think contempt is a pretty nasty feeling,
as it always contains some element of looking down on another person) for
what she managed to do during her time as Prime minister and treating her
death with some amount of reverence are mutually exclusive. You don’t have
to mourn her, but you can understand that some people do.

Thatcher death party

Another thought: I can’t help but hear this little voice nagging in my brain:
Was Ronald Reagan’s death celebrated in the same way? Because if
Thatcher was evil, so was Reagan. But then he wasn’t the first female
political leader of his country, was he? Maybe the comparison between the
two doesn’t totally work. Maybe Thatcher was way worse – The effects of
her policies at least seems to be. But I still wonder, especially when I see
words like “bitch” and “witch” (I know, they even rhyme, that’s how creative
people are with their insults of women nowadays) constantly used by
celebrating crowds and cheerful Facebook statuses.

And one last comment: You know she wasn’t a dictator, right? Margaret
Thatcher was elected. By people. Some of them must have supported her
politics – I assume they didn’t vote for her because they wanted the opposite
of what she was planning. I also assume there’s no political group celebrating
the death of every person who ever voted for Thatcher. Or the other
politicians who worked with her during her term of office. Blaming Thatcher
alone for all the policies carried out during that time seems strange to me.

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2 Comments

Filed under Feminism, Politics

2 responses to “Yes, Margaret Thatcher is dead. And so too, apparently, is empathy.

  1. Actually I do recall Reagan’s demise being celebrated in similar fashion, with college parties especially. But I agree with you. No matter how much you despise a person’s behavior in life, the well-mannered thing to do is wish them all the best when it is over. It is probably important not to allow the inappropriate sanctification of ideologues, but it can still be done with charity and good humor.

    • Okay. When I googled it (I’m a very thorough researcher, as you can see) I only found a couple of sites about celebrations of Reagan’s death. But if that’s the case, that’s scary too.

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